Disclaimer: These are my opinions, and mine alone.
Seduction doesn’t start with the first kiss or the first smile. No, it starts when you see or meet the person of interest. And there is something about them that leaves an impression.
As a romance reader, seduction begins on page one. This is where the author introduces the characters.
What does he or she look like?
Are they strong, dominate, rich, poor, shy, smart? Tell me what makes them memorable! Or contrarily, what makes them a jerk-face.
My favorite meet cues are the ones where sparks fly. I’m not talking about a quivering quim because the hero is so hot and built like a small mountain. I’m talking about a meetings were the hero or heroine goes down in flames.
For example, in Kristen Ashley’s Sweet Dreams.
Lauren gets hired as a waitress. It’s her first day (I think) and the hero walks in, looks at her, and suddenly tells the owner they need to talk in the back room.
In that scene the hero calls Lauren horrible nasty names. She’s hurt, devastated and can’t believe someone so beautiful would say those things about her.
Oh my heart hurt…. but at the same time I was giddy. Why? Because I knew that this guy was going to have to work hard to redeem himself.
Redemption didn’t come easy.
The seduction started when he showed Lauren, in small gestures, that he cared. Starting with small gestures and moving to large ones. Each one made me, as the reader, fall more and more in love with him.
Thinking about all the things he did and how he laid it down….
A layer of seduction is when a stubborn character softening to the other character. It doesn’t matter which way it goes.
I can appreciate an uptight female softening for an easy going male, as much as reading an arrogant player finding value and appreciation for a female with a soft voice and curvy hips.
One of my favorite books where the female softens to the male is Suzanne Wright’s Here Be Sexist Vampires.
Sam, is the heroine of the story. The meet cue is a powerhouse of amazing. She strong, confident and smart. The hero desires her, but he doesn’t see her as an equal and she like…
Ah, it’s epic.
Sam does not lower her standards for him. And that’s why the seduction is a slow burn. It does not start until the hero figures out what he has to do, and he changes his actions, his attitude and treats her with respect. Honestly, by the time they get together, you’ve been waiting so long you want to scream.
I might have threatened to throw my kindle a few times during the course of this book. I mean, the hero was good, but he didn’t get it.
My favorite book where the jerk-face hero softens for a female will forever be Lisa Kleypas, Devil in Winter. This is me every time I re-read it.
Eve is a shy wallflower with a stutter. She has money, but not from nobility, her father ran a gambling hell. The hero in this book is the villain from the previous book. He’s not at all interested in a romantic relationship. Actually he’s against any kind of relationship with Eve.
A marriage of convenience, until he softens to his wife. He admires her inner strength, her good heart and her genuine lack of standards. It’s because she expects nothing, that even a little goes a long way.
It will get you in the feels.
Seduction is not sex, it’s what happens before the sex. It’s when one character is interested in the other character. But that other character is only mildly interested or worse, not at all, and the main charter converts that disinterest into rabid desire.
It’s the actions that make the undervalued person feel valued.
Here’s an example of seduction. A long time ago, a man named Casanova was known for having several bed partners. Back in the 1720’s he didn’t flirt to toss up a shirt, he had to seduce her as customs demanded at that time.
This one time Casanova walked in to a tavern and saw a beautiful actress. This actress had a lisp, one where she had trouble pronouncing “R’s”. Instead of telling her that he would get over it, or that he would pay for her to get speech therapy, he did something clever, he left.
For the next three days and nights he wrote a play – one without the letter “R” in it. When he returned and presented it to her, she was overwhelmed at how personal and thoughtful the gift was. He did something few men at that time did, he showed interest by showering specific interest and acceptance.
That’s powerful seduction – acceptance.
Unfortunately, I’m not Kristen Ashley, Lisa or Suzanne so I can’t say my romances have expert seduction. But I’m getting there. Every book is a new chance to bring two people together and explore the ups and down of a growing relationship.
Thus far in my Unexpected series I loved writing Sci’s romance. I spent a lot of time thinking about how long it would take for a person raised in a culture where touching and family was not even a concept.
The seduction was mental. It took time for Sci, my hero, to enjoy listening to the heroines mind, and accepting that there was more to life than what was in his culture.
I’m currently working on the next book in the series where my hero, Yon is an arrogant know-it-all and my heroine is shy and suffering from years of slave labor. The seduction is not unique but I hope that it satisfies my readers enough that when my couple comes together, it makes them want to cheer.